The 2017 NFL Draft is now just a short time away, which means that it will not be long now before we know a lot more about how each team will shape up for the 2017 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers are obviously in need of a quality draft, but the same could be said for nearly every team.
In the spirit of divisional rivalries, we are keeping our enemies closer than our friends, so for the three days leading up to the draft, we are going to be providing insight into the offseason of each of the Steelers’ rivals and what their draft needs and plan may look like.
2016 Record: 8-8
Offseason Additions: S Tony Jefferson, RB Danny Woodhead, CB Brandon Carr
Offseason Losses: RT Rick Wagner, FB Kyle Juszczyk, WR Steve Smith, WR Kamar Aiken, C Jeremy Zuttah, OLB Elvis Dumervil, DE Timmy Jernigan, ILB Zachary Orr, S Kendrick Lewis, CB Shareece Wright, DE Lawrence Guy, CB Jerraud Powers, S Matt Elam
Round 1, Pick 16 (16)
Round 2, Pick 15 (47)
Round 3, Pick 10 (74) (From Eagles)
Round 3, Pick 14 (78)
Round 4, Pick 16 (122)
Round 5, Pick 15 (159)
Round 6, Pick 2 (186) (From 49ers)
When you round it all up, the Ravens have certainly lost a lot of players through a variety of means: free agency, trade, retirement. Some of them ended up becoming more name than production, such as Dumervil, who hasn’t been healthy the past two years. Wagner leaves a big hole at right tackle, though, and Jernigan’s loss is no small hill to climb, either. They traded him to move up from the compensatory portion of the third round to the first third of the round, giving them four picks in the first 78.
They still have, or could have, a strong defense, and retaining Brandon Williams was important in that regard. They feel that they have upgraded their secondary with the additions of Carr and Jefferson, but they definitely could still use a linebacker and another defensive end.
It would be pretty likely to see the Ravens use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman, given the multiple holes there, while coming back in the second to find another pass rusher. Remember, not only is Dumervil gone, but Terrell Suggs is nearing the end of his career.
Wide receiver is a huge priority, however, following the retirement of Steve Smith and the only moderate progress from Breshad Perriman, so you can pencil in that position pretty much anywhere in the draft right now. Not that the Ravens have had great success drafting wide receivers. Their top two last season were free-agent signings.
Even though they drafted Kenneth Dixon last year and brought in Woodhead, running back is also a position Baltimore could look to upgrade if they find high value early in the draft. They have not had an above-average, scheme-independent runner since Ray Rice. And they want to run the ball.
Even with the addition of Carr, however, one has to consider that while he has been healthy, he is getting older, and Jimmy Smith has been chronically injured. Tavon Young looks like a good one, but they seem to want him in the slot. There’s no reason to think they wouldn’t take advantage of this deep cornerback class.